What is the best meal plan for menstrual cycle? This is a question that I would love to answer for you. When it comes to the proper nutrition, you might find it difficult to follow meal plan for menstrual cycle. Most women fail when it comes to adhering to a diet because most tips and recommendations are built for everyone else but them. Because of this, the tips that one receives may not be able to work for her/him.
Foods to Eat (and Some to Avoid) During Your Period
Many people experience unpleasant sensations when they are menstruating. While some meals can make these symptoms worse, others can make them less noticeable. These signs consist of:
- abdominal cramps
- mood swings
You may feel better if you change your diet and exclude some foods if you suffer any of these symptoms.
Foods to eat
Water consumption is crucial at all times, but it’s crucial during your period. Dehydration headaches, a typical menstrual symptom, can be prevented by maintaining hydration.
You can avoid water retention and bloating by drinking plenty of water.
Fruits high in water content, such watermelon and cucumber, are excellent for maintaining hydration. Without consuming a lot of refined sugar, which can cause your blood sugar levels to soar and then collapse, sweet fruits can help you control your sugar cravings.
3. Leafy green vegetables
When you’re on your period, especially if your menstrual flow is thick, it’s typical to see a drop in your iron levels. Dizziness, weariness, and physical pain may result from this.
Your iron levels can be increased by eating leafy greens like kale and spinach. Magnesium is also abundant in spinach.
A warm cup of ginger tea can help with some menstrual problems. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, ginger helps relieve sore muscles.
Ginger may also lessen motion sickness. There aren’t many studies that support this, but one from 2018 revealed that ginger significantly decreased morning sickness and vomiting during the first trimester of pregnancy. It is worth attempting because it is secure and reasonably priced.
Consuming more than 4 grams of ginger in a single day, however, may result in heartburn and stomachaches.
You can also include chicken in your diet because it is a protein- and iron-rich item. Consuming protein is crucial for general health and can keep you satisfied and full throughout your period, reducing cravings.
Fish is a wholesome addition to your diet because it is high in iron, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. The drop in iron levels you can encounter while menstruating will be prevented by consuming iron.
A 2012 study found that omega-3s help lessen the intensity of period pain. When subjects took omega-3 supplements, they discovered that their menstrual pain subsided to the point where they could use less ibuprofen.
According to a 2014 study, omega-3 fatty acids can also lessen depression. Omega-3s may be beneficial for people who suffer from sadness and mood changes during their periods.
Curcumin, the primary active component of turmeric, is a spice noted for its anti-inflammatory properties. In a 2015 study, researchers examined how curcumin affected PMS symptoms and discovered that those who used curcumin experienced fewer severe symptoms.
8. Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate is a delicious and healthy snack because it’s high in iron and magnesium. 67 percent of the recommended daily intake (RDI) for iron and 58 percent of the RDI for magnesium are each present in a 100-gram bar of 70 to 85% dark chocolate.
According to a 2010 study, magnesium lessened the severity of PMS symptoms. A 2015 study found that those with magnesium deficiency were more likely to experience severe PMS symptoms.
The majority of nuts are a wonderful source of protein and are high in omega-3 fatty acids. They also include vitamins and magnesium. Try nut butters or milks made from nuts if you don’t want to eat nuts by themselves, or include these foods in smoothies.
10. Flaxseed oil
Omega-3 fatty acids amount to 7,195 milligrams per 15 milliliters of flaxseed oil. To put things into perspective, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements, you only require 1,100–1,600 mg of omega-3s per day.
Consuming flaxseed oil relieved constipation, a typical menstrual symptom, according to a small research. However, additional studies are required to demonstrate how flaxseed oil might enhance digestive health.
Iron, protein, and magnesium are among the nutrients that are abundant in quinoa. Additionally, it is gluten-free, making it a wonderful food for anyone with celiac disease. Additionally, it has a low glycemic index, so you’ll probably feel satisfied and energetic for a while after eating it.
12. Lentils and beans
Because they are high in protein, lentils and beans are excellent meat substitutes for vegans and vegetarians. Additionally, they are high in iron, which makes them excellent additions to your diet if you have low iron levels.
Yeast infections are common during or after periods. Yogurt is a probiotic-rich food that can feed the “good” bacteria in your vagina and may aid in the prevention of yeast infections if you are prone to getting them.
Magnesium and other necessary elements, like calcium, are also abundant in yogurt.
Tofu is a product derived from soybeans and is a well-liked source of protein for vegetarians and vegans. It contains a lot of calcium, magnesium, and iron.
15. Peppermint tea
According to a 2016 study, peppermint tea may help reduce PMS symptoms. In particular, it can ease diarrhea, nausea, and menstrual cramps.
Not all probiotic-rich foods can help you battle yeast, including yogurt. When it comes to fermented foods, kombucha tea is now more accessible than ever if you’re trying to avoid dairy. Try to stay away from kombucha beverages with excessive sugar content.
Foods to avoid
While many meals are acceptable in moderation, you might want to steer clear of some since they make your period symptoms worse.
Lots of salt intake causes water retention, which can cause bloating. Avoid highly processed meals that are heavy in sodium and avoid adding salt to your food to decrease bloating.
While eating sugar in moderation is acceptable, eating too much of it might result in an energy spike followed by a fall. This can make you feel worse. Watching your sugar intake can help you manage your mood if you frequently experience moodiness, depression, or anxiety during your period.
Bloating and water retention are side effects of caffeine. It may also make headaches worse. But if you’re used to having a few cups of coffee a day, don’t stop drinking it entirely because caffeine withdrawal can also lead to headaches.
Having coffee may also make you feel ill inside. If you frequently experience diarrhea during your period, cutting back on your coffee intake may help.
Alcohol can have several harmful consequences on your health, which might make your period symptoms worse.
Alcohol, for instance, can dehydrate you, which can make headaches worse and lead to bloating. Additionally, it may result in digestive problems like diarrhea and sickness.
Additionally, a hangover can cause some of the same symptoms that you experience during your period, such as:
5. Spicy foods
Many people experience diarrhea, stomach pain, and sometimes nausea after eating spicy foods that upset their stomachs. It may be better to avoid spicy meals during your period if your stomach has trouble tolerating them or if you’re not used to eating them.
6. Red meat
Your body creates prostaglandins throughout your menstruation. These substances aid in uterine contraction and uterine lining elimination, causing menstrual flow. However, cramps are a result of excessive prostaglandin levels.
Although red meat has a lot of iron, it also contains a lot of prostaglandins, hence it should be avoided when menstruating.
7. Foods you don’t tolerate well
Even though it might seem apparent, if you have food sensitivities, avoid such items, especially when you’re on your period.
Despite your lactose intolerance, you might treat yourself to a milkshake once in a while. However, it’s crucial to avoid the items that can cause problems for your health when you’re on your period.
Consuming these meals may make you feel nauseous, constipated, or diarrheal, which will only make you feel worse during a painful period.
What foods to eat during your cycle
When it comes to controlling our own health, adjusting our food to support our shifting hormones can be a game-changer, but it’s especially beneficial if you battle with PMS, painful periods, or other signs of hormonal imbalance.
The cause? What we eat is just one of the numerous elements that affect the hormones in our endocrine system, which cooperate to perform essential tasks and support homeostasis (the state of equilibrium) in the body. Particularly important for hormone health and general physical, mental, and emotional well-being is the balance of progesterone and oestrogen (the two main cycle hormones that change over our monthly cycles).
Certain foods alter hormone function, support hormone production, or facilitate hormone detoxification. When we consider the ailments that food can alleviate, it is fascinating. Foods like kale and broccoli (sulforaphane-rich foods, if we’re being nutrition nerds) can promote detoxification processes, including the elimination of excess oestrogen, whilst protein supplies amino acids, the building blocks needed to make hormones. While magnesium-rich foods like tofu, dark greens, and nuts may help to support PMS-associated water retention and menstrual pain, vitamin C, which is present in foods like dark leafy greens, citrus, and parsley, is essential to helping the production of cortisol, which influences our stress response.
Maintaining consistent blood sugar levels also supports hormonal harmony, which lessens mood swings and improves control of appetite, weight, sleep, and desires. Try eating balanced meals with protein and fiber at regular intervals, and pay attention to the sorts of sugars and carbohydrates you’re consuming, to achieve this.
A significant act of self-care is listening to the female body’s intelligence and attending to its particular requirements. Not only may it lessen annoying period symptoms, but it also improves our energy levels and stabilizes our moods, allowing us to enjoy the pleasures of the period rather than dread it. A diet composed of complete, plant-based foods, high-quality proteins, and healthy fats is an excellent starting point. To promote hormone balance, include some of these cycle-supporting foods to your weekly grocery list.
PHASE 1: Bleed
FOOD FOCUS: Add nutrients; warmth and comfort
Menstruation begins on the first day of our cycle. Our hormones are at their lowest during the beginning of the cycle as they work to remove the uterine lining. Energy levels are likely to be low due to this hormonal dip, so help the body by giving it plenty of filtered water and unprocessed, nutrient-rich foods that maintain stable energy and blood sugar levels. The energy-demanding process of menstruation can be supported by a balanced diet that includes lean proteins, excellent fats, and low GI complex carbs such stews that are rich in legumes, whole grains, and root vegetables. Include heated, fermented, sprouted, or activated foods wherever feasible since they may be simpler to digest since some of the breakdown process has already started. Include a lot of iron-rich foods like lentils, kelp, pumpkin seeds, dried prunes, and spinach in your diet. If you consume animal products, you should also eat grass-fed beef, eggs, and fish, which are all strong sources of heme iron and can help restore iron levels that may be lost during bleeding. Additionally, this is a good time to choose healthier foods because women may feel less hungry at this time of the month due to lower hormone levels.
Menstruation Phase Shopping List Ideas:
- Sea vegetables e.g. kelp
- Sweet potato
- Activated brown rice
- Kefir or probiotic yoghurts
- Pumpkin seeds
- Millet- based cereals
- Wheat germ
- Protein of choice; beef, chicken, lentils, fish, eggs, tofu
Supplements and herbs
- Magnesium oil spray: For cramps and migraines
- Methylated B vitamins: For breast tenderness, clotting cramps and migraines
- Agnus Castus: For many PMS symptoms
PHASE 2: Rise
FOOD FOCUS: Fresh and light
While still low, hormone levels are starting to climb as your egg follicles develop in preparation for ovulation. This is a fantastic time to include light, fresh, and vivid foods like salads and fermented foods like kefir, probiotic yoghurt, or sauerkraut, which support gut health and detoxification. We may be beginning to feel more invigorated and may be adding more activity. Because of the rise in oestrogen, some women may feel that this is the best time to start a healthy food plan or try a 7-day cleanse because they have more energy, focus, and willpower at this time.
Follicular Phase Shopping List Ideas:
- Salad vegetables
- Nuts/seed mix
- Probiotic yoghurt
- Zucchini/ courgettes
Supplements and herbs
- Probiotics: Are good daily support to aid digestion, detoxification, immunity and and mood
- Shatavari root: Known for its support of sexual vitality to compliment increased arousal
- L theanine and lemon balm: If the increase in your energy levels tips over into feelings of restlessness
PHASE 3: Shift
FOOD FOCUS: Fibrous and light
We enter the ovulatory phase once the egg has reached maturity. Hormone levels are increasing, especially oestrogen, which helps with ovulation. Additionally, our basal body temperature rises, which may contribute to an increase in energy. Foods like kale, broccoli, onions, garlic, and radishes include nutrients that help the liver eliminate oestrogen, which can have a detrimental affect on our cycle and cause more spots and breast soreness.
Ovulation Phase Shopping List Ideas:
- Wholegrain: breads, pasta, rice –- BB vitamins
- Fruits: berries, citrus, papaya
Supplements and herbs
- Vitamin B6: Supports energy production, mood and hormone regulation throughout the month
- Valerian/ Fennel tea blend: A botanical known to encourage a deeper sleep
PHASE 4: Reflect
FOOD FOCUS: Curb cravings
As menstruation approaches, hormone levels peak, and many women have PMS at this time. Food choices can help regulate pre-period moods and discomforts. For example, if you suffer bloating or swelling breasts as a result of water retention, stay away from foods heavy in salt because salt has an anti-diuretic effect on the body.
Similar rules apply to sugar; if you are prone to cravings, they may be at their peak this week, and you might be yearning carbohydrates; just make sure they are complex ones like brown rice, pasta, or bread (the husks are filled with energy with and stress- supporting B vitamins and fibre to help curb cravings and balance those moods.). Additionally, this is a good time of the month to limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol because these stimulants can make PMS-related anxiety and mood swings worse.
Try some alternatives like sparkling fruit water, herbal teas, chicory root, or switch your morning latte for a caffeine-free one because coffee and alcohol can also interfere with the absorption of vital vitamins and minerals needed for optimal menstrual health.
Luteal Phase Shopping List Ideas:
- Cucumber (water retention)
- Caffeine- free herbal teas
- Sesame seeds
- Brown rice
- Protein of choice: tofu, chicken, lean meats, fish and seafood
- Turmeric latte blend
- Dark chocolate
Supplements and herbs
- Viridian: 7-day sugar detox: to keep sugar cravings at bay
- Ashwagandha: Known for its ability to help the body adapt to stress
- Viridian Mg with B6: For anxiety, tension and promoting sleep.
- Better You Magnesium bath salts: Water retention and anxiety
Exactly what to eat at every stage of your menstrual cycle
because it takes all month to manage the mental and physical symptoms
Periods can cause fatigue, bloating, breast soreness, skin breakouts, cramps, mood changes, and let’s not forget hanger, despite the fact that they are a lovely, natural thing.
We all have coping mechanisms for the parts of our cycles where we don’t feel quite right, such as eating a tub of ice cream while watching Netflix or using a hot water bottle, but controlling the physical and mental symptoms of our menstrual cycle is truly a month-long task.
According to Priscila Gonsalez, holistic dietician at INTIMINA UK, “Following a diet to optimize the four phases of your menstrual cycle is a vital step for every woman, but it’s also important to just go with the flow, listen to your body, and honor your cycle.” You can concentrate on routines that can control your cycle. Your cycle will likely be less painful and conception will be simpler if your body is in tune with the variations of nature’s rhythm.
But what does it truly mean to “optimize” your menstrual cycle? In order to finally regain control over our hormones, Priscila walks us through exactly what to consume during each stage of our cycles in this article.
WHAT TO EAT DURING YOUR CYCLE
MENSTRUATION (DAY 1-5)
Pay close attention to foods that can increase your levels of magnesium and iron during your period, such as dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, seaweed, bananas, and dark chocolate. Consume foods rich in essential fatty acids such avocados, wild salmon, hemp seeds, natto, and fish liver oil in addition to getting enough water.
To treat period cramps, sip herbal tea or an infusion of nettle and red raspberry leaves. Be sure to nourish and renew with drinks as well. To aid in sleep, try chamomile or lemongrass. Avoid high-impact exercises and focus on yoga and gentle stretching during your bleeding days. You may feel exhausted throughout your bleeding phase because the body is working hard; try to get to bed as early as feasible. Additionally helpful for enhancing blood circulation are massages performed just before the start of your period.
FOLLICULAR PHASE (DAYS 5-13)
The levels of both testosterone and estrogen are rising. In order for your body to release an egg during this time, it is crucial to ensure that you are feeding it. Why does releasing an egg matter even if you are not attempting to conceive? There won’t be enough progesterone produced if the egg isn’t released.
Numerous indications of progesterone insufficiency include irregular periods, mood swings, and estrogen dominance. Concentrate on whole foods that don’t significantly raise blood sugar levels. To stop the blood sugar from rising, switch to whole-wheat carbohydrates instead of simple ones. Include proteins and fats in every meal. Blood sugar levels can be balanced by regular meals and sleeping patterns.
During this phase, your energy will be at its highest, so if you have any planned activities or hard exercise, now is the time to undertake them.
OVULATION (DAYS 14-16)
The egg is released from the ovary and moves to the uterus during this phase, which typically starts in the middle of your cycle and lasts just a week. You might experience a slight increase in body temperature during ovulation due to a 0.5 degree rise in body temperature. This is the ideal time to start trying to get pregnant.
You might have a little stiffness or soreness in your lower back, hips, or abdomen as the egg is released and passes through the fallopian tubes. Try some hip-opening poses in yoga. Any stiffness can also be relieved with the use of massage and acupressure. Oats, almonds, seeds, potatoes, avocado, broccoli, and raspberries are some examples of foods that are great to eat during this phase because they are both cooked and raw.
LUTEAL AND PREMENSTRUAL PHASE (DAYS 17-28)
Your body is preparing to work hard during your bleeding days, so it’s crucial to eat more protein and healthy fats in addition to heated food. Your body will benefit from eating things like brown rice, roots, oily fish, legumes, avocado, ginger, and turmeric during this phase. Avoid caffeine and alcohol at this time because they can exacerbate PMS symptoms and deplete the body’s supply of nutrients for the following phase of the cycle.
To assist balance mood and hormones during this stage, light exercise is suggested. Your body will start to naturally slow down, and you’ll start to feel more introverted. It’s crucial to pay attention to your body’s signals and give yourself space to rest.